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Glandore's Lawrie Smith Consolidates Lead at Dragon Gold Cup

13th September 2023
Torquay continues to deliver challenging racing conditions at the Dragon Gold Cup
Torquay continues to deliver challenging racing conditions at the Dragon Gold Cup Credit: Alex Irwin

Day three of the Yanmar Dragon Gold Cup 2023 at Torquay brought yet more ultra-shifty and variable breeze, this time from the northwest quadrant, which built from around six knots at the start of racing to sixteen by the finish, clocking right throughout the day.

Denmark’s Bo Johansen in Déjà Vu Ver 2.0 led from the outset of the third race and took victory by an impressive margin. Behind him the fight for second was fierce with Andy Beadsworth’s Turkish Provezza Dragon ultimately finishing second and Lawrie Smith’s Alfie third.

In the overall standings Smith, who is sailing for the Glandore Yacht Club, has consolidated his overall lead and now has a fifteen-point delta over his nearest rivals. Behind him the rankings are much tighter with Switzerland’s Wolf Waschkuhn, who finished twelfth in the race, one point ahead of third placed Xavier Vanneste of Belgium, who finished eighth. Beadsworth’s second place puts him in fourth overall, two points behind Vanneste and four ahead of Bo Johansen in fifth.

Ireland's Neil Hegarty from Dun Laoghaire is lying 20th, Jonathan Bourtke 32nd and Kinsale's Brian Goggin 46th. Results here.

After racing Bo Johansen was very pleased with his team’s performance, saying, “It was fantastic, the start was very narrow and we got over to the right side and then we just got in front of all the boats and then it was just a case of stay ahead and don’t do anything! It was shifting about 15 to 20 degrees to the right side, so it was more fair to be on the right.”.

The forecast for the day had only offered wind in the afternoon so Race Officer Stuart Childerley had delayed racing by two hours until 14:00. With much fresher conditions and vastly improved visibility over the first two days, the fleet ran down to the racecourse under blue skies and fluffy white clouds. The backdrop for racing was also more scenic with the spectacular English Riviera and Devon’s rolling hills sparkling in the sun.

Racing got underway at the first attempt, but with Peter Gilmour and Germany’s Magdalena Grundt both individually recalled and forced to return under spinnaker. The wind was still light and shifty, the tide was running fairly evenly right to left across the course, and the fleet was clearly undecided on which way to go so were soon spread across the bay. Once again those on the right gained and Bo Johansen had made the best of it to take a generous lead early on. Following him around the first mark were Finland’s Lauri Rechardt, Lawrie Smith, Sweden’s Jan Secher and Germany’s Stephan link.

By the end of the first run Johansen had extended his lead further, Rechardt and Smith held their positions, Link had pulled up into fourth and Salcombe based David Tabb into fifth with Secher now sixth and Beadsworth seventh.

On the second lap Johansen had opened up his lead even further. Smith had held second place for four of the five legs and looked reasonably secure rounding the bottom mark, but with the wind building and still shifting right Beadsworth was determined to reel him in, and the pack was pressing hard.

On the line Johansen won in spectacular style, but the fight for second would go all the way. Smith did all he could but as they came to the line, it was Beadsworth who took second with Smith third, Secher fourth, Skolaut fifth, Link sixth, Tabb seventh, Vanneste eighth and Rechard ninth.

After racing Christoph Skolaut said, “It was a really good race, we started bad and had to make a turn before the starting line because we had no space, but went to the right side and then we came around tenth at the first mark. Then we went down to the right side, went a little bit faster than the other. After this our position was quite stable. We picked the right buoy at the last gate and went to the right side and gained I think two or three boats on the last leg. So we’re very happy.”.

One of the most impressive performances of the day came from Peter Gilmour and his team who sailed like demons to make up for their disastrous OCS. On every leg they pulled up places and at the finish they crossed in thirteenth place, which puts them into sixth overall and still very much in contention for a podium finish.

Fifth placed Christoph Skolaut was the first Corinthian boat across the line with David Tabb second and Guus de Groot of the Netherlands third. At the midpoint in the regatta Skolaut now leads the Corinthian Division from Tabb with de Groot third.

David Tabb commented, “We’re really pleased, we went around mostly around seventh, thought we got up to sixth, dropped back to seventh and just a bit of backwards and forwards but very competitive. We’re good in the light stuff but struggling a bit because we’re underweight in the heavier stuff. It’s a lovely place to sail, it feels a bit like home when you’re from Salcombe!”

In the Nations Cup for the three boat national teams the UK team of Lawrie Smith, Grant Gordon and David Tabb continues to lead the pack. Germany’s Jan Woortman, Olaf Sternel and Stephan Link are second with Ireland’s Neil Hegarty, Brian Goggin and Jonathan Bourke third.

The forecast for Wednesday’s fourth race is that there will be wind early in the day, but that it is likely to die off by the afternoon. The Race Committee has announced that it intends to start the fourth race at 09:30 to take advantage of the early breeze. Three races remain to be sailed between now and the conclusion of the regatta on Friday 15 September and the result of all races count. 


  • 1st - Lawrie Smith, GBR815, Alfie - 1, 1, 3 = 4
  • 2nd - Wolf Waschkuhn, SUI318, 1quick1 - 4, 4, 12 = 20
  • 3rd - Xavier Vanneste, BEL82, Herbie - 5, 8, 8 = 21
  • 4th - Andy Beadsworth, TUR12, Provezza Dragon - 16, 6, 2 = 24
  • 5th - Bo Johansen, DEN423, Deja Vu Ver. 2.0 - 2, 24, 1 = 27
Published in Dragon Team

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The Dragon was designed by Johan Anker in 1929 as an entry for a competition run by the Royal Yacht Club of Gothenburg, to find a small keel-boat that could be used for simple weekend cruising among the islands and fjords of the Scandinavian seaboard. The original design had two berths and was ideally suited for cruising in his home waters of Norway. The boat quickly attracted owners and within ten years it had spread all over Europe.

The Dragon's long keel and elegant metre-boat lines remain unchanged, but today Dragons are constructed using the latest technology to make the boat durable and easy to maintain. GRP is the most popular material, but both new and old wooden boats regularly win major competitions while looking as beautiful as any craft afloat. Exotic materials are banned throughout the boat, and strict rules are applied to all areas of construction to avoid sacrificing value for a fractional increase in speed.

The key to the Dragon's enduring appeal lies in the careful development of its rig. Its well-balanced sail plan makes boat handling easy for lightweights, while a controlled process of development has produced one of the most flexible and controllable rigs of any racing boat.